As parents, we entrust our children to schools believing that they will be safe and free from abuse and maltreatment of any kind. While we most often hear news of adult-on-child abuse, The Department of Health and Human Services Children’s Bureau reported that child-on-child abuse is seven times more likely than adult-on-child maltreatment in schools, especially in terms of sexual abuse and bullying.
Regrettably, the situation isn’t getting any better and, in fact, there is a growing number of incidents being reported every year. It’s at this point that the system seems to be failing our children which is why the preponderance of evidence is so grim. In addition to a growing number of child abuse cases being reported, government guidelines often prevent many of those reports from being entered into a statistical analysis. Here is a quick look at what has parents so alarmed.
Your Rights and Responsibilities as a Parent
Before looking at a few key findings, let’s talk for a moment about what you can do as a parent if you suspect any form of child abuse being leveled at your child in school. Even in cases of child-on-child abuse such as bullying, parents do have recourse to hold the school accountable.
They are, after all, the responsible adults to whom we have entrusted the care and safety of our minor children. Attorneys such as those at R&B Law are taking a growing number of cases in which the school did nothing to protect the most vulnerable of children in their charge. This is in addition to the cases where teachers and other employees of the school system are found guilty of child abuse.
Is the System Working FOR or AGAINST You?
This is the point where most people get confused. The guidelines set up by the system are nearly always impossible to meet. Just because a case is reported doesn’t always mean anything will come of it. Once reported, it is sent to your state’s Child Protective Services upon which the following conditions must be met before they will take action. These conditions include:
- Meeting the state’s intake standard.
- Insufficient information in the allegation.
- Not an apparent case of child neglect or abuse.
- Response passed on to another agency.
And those are just some of the reasons why allegations of abuse aren’t taken more seriously or handled to the extent they should be dealt with.
Unfortunately, almost every agency cites outdated statistics listed in Child Maltreatment 2010. Researched and published by the Administration on Children, Youth and Families, there doesn’t seem to be any more current collation of statistics dealing with child abuse in all its forms. Along with guidelines that are difficult to meet in many cases, parents are often at a loss as to how to hold schools accountable for child maltreatment on their campuses.
Even if a school should be held accountable but the guidelines weren’t met, it doesn’t mean that a good attorney can’t get you and your child the just compensation you deserve. While a guilty verdict in a court of law could win the suit, there are other pieces of irrefutable evidence an attorney can use to substantiate your case. Your child could suffer a lifetime of mental, emotional or physical damage brought about as the result of abuse, so let your attorney help you prove your case and hopefully also rid the system of adults who would probably fare better in another occupation.